AN APPEAL for thousands of new blood donors – which is backed by television stars – has been launched following a dramatic decline in the number of younger donors signing up.

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Hollyoaks actors, as well as designer Wayne Hemingway MBE, are supporting the NHS Blood and Transplant (NHSBT) drive for 100,000 new donors in the next 100 days to protect future blood stocks.

Of the 14,000 donors needed from the east of England about 5,600 are expected to be in the 17 to 24 age bracket.

This age group accounts for about 40 per cent of new donors each year, but the number of young donors registering has been falling steadily.

Hollyoaks stars, including Jorgie Porter, have pledged their support for the appeal by modelling limited edition ‘Blood Sister’ and ‘Blood Brother’ T-shirts created by Red or Dead founder Mr Hemingway.

A limited number of these exclusive T-shirts will be up for grabs via the NHSBT Twitter page@GiveBloodNHS from Monday.

Miss Porter said: “I really wanted to support this appeal because giving blood is such an amazing thing to do.

“Blood isn’t just needed when people have accidents – it’s also used to help treat health conditions including cancer and long-term illnesses and in maternity care.

“If someone you loved needed blood you’d want it to be there, so if you can donate then please do.”

The number of younger donors signing up has fallen by 20 per cent over the last 10 years and this year there has been a 50 per cent drop in the number of 17 to 18-year-olds registering compared to last year.

For more information, including how to get involved, visit blood.co.uk or call 0300 1232323.

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